Reply To: The Necessary and Proper Clause


Mr. McClanahan, thanks for the reply. I think your response holds weight regarding the BUS. However, I don’t think you have dealt with part of the problem of interpreting necessary as “absolutely necessary.”

I know this might seem ridiculous, but trust me that people will come up with very meticulous and often ridiculous arguments against liberty.

For example, multiple clauses in Article I Section 8 deal with punishing various crimes. Suppose one of those crimes is committed and the Federal Government wants to punish the perpetrator.

First, they decide to throw him in jail for 5 years. Are they allowed to erect a Federal Prison in which put him and others committing this crime? Well it’s not absolutely necessary. They could pick a state or local prison in which to put him. Yet is it absolutely necessary to put him in a state or local prison? Couldn’t they just keep him in a locked room in D.C. somewhere?

I guess I’m just struggling with the objection: Nothing is TRULY ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, so if you want the Fed Govt to have any power at all, then we must allow some elasticity in how we interpret NECESSARY in the necessary and proper clause.